What Are the Key Features of an Embedded System?

A computer system that executes a specific set of functions as part of a larger device is known as an Embedded System. Embedded systems are incorporated into systems or devices that comprise a combination of hardware and software.

These systems or devices include household electronics, mobile phones, MP3 players or entertainments systems such as TVs or music systems. Embedded systems are also incorporated into larger device and machines such as factory robots, traffics lights, and even in control systems for aircrafts.

Key Features of an Embedded System

  1. Embedded systems execute pre-programmed functions and they have a particular set of requirements. They are programmed hardware devices that run on hardware chips that are programmable.
  2. Embedded systems perform a specific function or a set of specific functions unlike a computer, which is used to carry out a wide number of functions.
  3. They are not always independent devices. Embedded systems form smaller parts of a much larger device that carries out a specific task. For instance, the Gibson Robot Guitar utilises an embedded system to tune the guitar strings but the primary function of the guitar is to play music. There are embedded systems in cars that carry out several assistive functions even though the main purpose is transportation.
  4. The program scripted for an embedded system is called a firmware and is stored on a read-only or flash memory.
  5. Embedded systems can either have no user interface or possess highly advanced graphical interfaces. It mainly depends on the purpose of the device or the function it is designed to carry out. Simple embedded systems use LEDs, buttons or LCD displays with simple menu options. Complex devices can use touch sensitive screens to provide flexibility and at the same time, minimize the need for space.